In talking with friends I’m finding that we’re a bit of an oddity so wanted to see if others are in a similar boat.
We don’t have cable or basic TV channels, only streaming, so we never watch the news and therefore my 7 year old is completely unexposed to current events. We are very proactive generally about exposing her to books with diverse characters, talking about history, quality, civil rights etc but we’ve rarely had to have that conversation within current events context unless she heard something at school, which obviously is not a thing right now. So I’m struggling with whether I should tell her about the protests going on right now. I don’t shy away from these conversations in any way when they come up but since she doesn’t know anything about it I also feel kind of awkward just bringing it up. Has anyone in a similar position found a good way to approach it?
nectarine / 2047 posts
We don’t have a TV but we have talked about everything that’s going almost every day with our 4.5year old. We told him that a police officer killed a black man and now there are protests. We talked about what protest, racism and ally mean. We attended a community vigil that was family friendly on Sunday and talked a lot about things before we went. We centered it on how black people are not treated fairly and why that’s not right. We are trying to keep it simple but we will be having lots of small conversations where we might say the wrong thing but can learn from it and move forward rather than avoiding one big talk where I feel like I have to get everything “right”
Hope this helps. I’m still learning.
persimmon / 1483 posts
We are the exact same. I don’t know what the answer is. My 6 yo knows that there are protests happening because a man was killed bc of the color of his skin because she overhead my husband and I talking about the situation. I kept the details of the George Floyd’s murder, including that it was at the hands of the police, very vague, because she’s 6, and I just don’t know how to make that make sense for her. It definitely triggered a continuation of our conversation about racism and equality (which was initially triggered, btw, by an unexpectedly detailed kindergarten lesson on MLK’s assassination). But yeah, we don’t watch the news with them EVER. The sole exception was that she watched Obama’s livestream with me today, because she happened to be in my office when it came on, and I could trust that he wouldn’t say/do anything totally bananas.
persimmon / 1233 posts
I brought it up with my 7 year old. I said something like, "Hey, I want to talk to you about something. You know how you've learned that black people have been discriminated against in the past and that it continues even now? Well, something happened a few days ago in Minnesota (show on map) where a police officer killed a black man which is horrible. And now people all over the country are protesting, holding signs to show they're really upset and want this to never happen again. It's even happening here."
And then we looked up a story on the local public radio station website and saw some pictures of the protests, how they'd shut down the highway and some people were hurt by rubber bullets and tear gas. He asked a couple questions and then ran away to play Prodigy.
I haven't brought it up since. I want him to be aware but I don't feel the need to talk about it all the time. I haven't brought it up with my 4.5 year old yet but probably will soon in a similar way.
cherry / 146 posts
My child has definitely been picking up things from the radio which is how our conversations about these events have started, but I think we might stream the CNN/Sesame Street town hall this weekend. The coronavirus one was pretty good and he is Sesame Street obsessed.
cantaloupe / 6017 posts
I took the same approach as hummusgirl with my 7 year old. just brought it up, answered her questions, let it sit.
nectarine / 2010 posts
We also did it very similar to how hummusgirl said. We brought it up, looked at some protest pictures, answered her questions (some of which were silly while others were more serious), and then dropped it when she seemed done. She has asked a few more questions since then and we do our best to answer them in an age appropriate but factual way. We have always had ongoing conversations about race and racism though, so it felt somewhat natural to bring it up.
We plan on watching the cnn and Sesame Street town hall meeting this weekend - you can stream it on cnn’s website.
cherry / 157 posts
Same. We don’t watch any TV and don’t listen to any news around the kids (ages 4 and 6). Similar to those above, I just brought up the topic with my 6 year old. I didn’t speak directly to my 4 year old about it, but he was in the room during our conversation. I think I started with “something really bad happened that I want to talk to you about.” I told him a white police officer killed a black man, probably due to the color of his skin. He has learned about black history in school so he already understands that sometimes people get treated unfairly due to their skin color. I told him that people were now really upset because it was wrong. He asked if the black man was a “bad guy”. I said no, he was a good guy; the police officer did a very wrong thing. We didn’t get into the details about how the man died. Then we all watched a video reading of the book “Something Happened in Our Town.”
One thing I’ve heard lately is not to worry too much about how you talk to your kids - it’s more important that you just talk to them. My kid didn’t seem phased by me randomly bringing it up.
pomegranate / 3595 posts
@Mrs. Carrot: I just wanted to say thanks for starting this and thanks to everyone for the input. I was also unsure about how to have this discussion as we don’t watch the news either but my dh mentioned curfew tonight on the phone as he was driving home and the kids were asking questions so, partly due to this, we discussed the basics of what happened and why people are so upset etc. This helped me feel brave enough to start the conversation somewhere so thanks!
apricot / 399 posts
I"m just going to say that you need to bring it up. Black parents don't have a choice - in my opinion, you shouldn't have a choice either. We don't watch TV but we have brought it up in the same way that others have mentioned above. And we don't shy away from having our own conversations about it in front of the kids, either. I distinctly remember my parents have conversations like this in front of me as a kid and I think I learned a lot from them.
blogger / nectarine / 2043 posts
@hitchhiker: I completely agree that it needs to be discussed, and I definitely don't shy away from conversations like these and generally feel like I do a decent job at them but given her total non-exposure I just wasn't sure of the best way to dive in. Thanks to everyone for the advice!
pomelo / 5084 posts
@Mrs. Carrot: Same as @peaches1038 - we have one tv and only Netflix and Prime so our four year old hasn’t “seen” any current events but we are definitely talking about them. The beauty of kids is, they never think anything is awkward! Just dive in. It won’t be perfect but it will be good.
pomelo / 5084 posts
@Madison43: Don’t you miss being able to trust that a livestream of our leader won’t be inappropriate?
blogger / nectarine / 2043 posts
So this whole question got addressed for me when the kiddo's teacher brought up what's been happening in their morning meeting yesterday. I wasn't in the room for it but my husband said kiddo got really upset and asked to sign off early, which never happens. I tried to talk to her about what bothered her a few times during the day but she clammed up every time and kept saying she didn't want to talk about it. Any suggestions on how to navigate that?
pomegranate / 3595 posts
@Mrs. Carrot: that’s hard! I would try to reflect that she had a strong reaction and try to share a little about your own thoughts and feelings and validate how big of a concern this is for her. And then invite her to talk but not push it, with an open door for the future. I think hearing you talk about it may help and also modeling that big reactions are okay and showing some ways to handle them.